How To Live Like You’re on Vacation All Year

When I started working with my client about a year ago, it was obvious to me that she was drawn to all things shabby, chippy, and beachy.  She called me in to help pulling those things together and making them work in her traditional suburban home.  

Front Porch – Photo by Melanie G. Photography


Over the next few weeks, I’m going to show you the transformation of this fun family home that feels more like a coastal getaway than a formal suburban house in a Brentwood, Tennessee neighborhood.  We might as well start at the entry, which sets the scene for this sea-inspired space.  This is the way the entry used to look.  Unfortunately, this is the only before photo I have and it’s pretty blurry.

Entry Before


The floors were already hardwood, but the stairs were carpeted and dingy with yellowing paint on the trim going up the stairs.  The first thing we did was remove the carpet and refinish the wood beneath.  I found this bench in my client’s recreation room and decided to remove the cushion and paint it to use beside the stairs.

Entry Bench Before


I had an idea for her stairs, but it would take a big leap of faith on her part to let me try it.  I was inspired by this photo from Martha Stewart:

Martha Stewart


My client was totally up for it, so I devised a color scheme for the stair spindles that would tie in the palette for the entire home.  She was completely devoted to whites and watery blue-greens, so that’s what we went with.  

Stairwell Spindles Painted in Gradations of Watery Blue-Greens + White


I took a previously yellow table of the homeowner’s and painted it one of our blues and roughed up the edges with sandpaper to reveal a hint of the yellow beneath.


We also gathered all the black frames in the house and filled them with family photos to use in the upstairs hallway in a grouping.  I always lay them out on the floor to create my grouping before I start hammering nails.

Family Photos to be Hung


So let’s look again at the “before” state of the entry:

Entry Before


Are you ready?  Here come the “afters”:

painted spindles


Photo by Melanie G. Photography 


  sky blue

  Photo by Melanie G. Photography



coastal style

 Photo by Melanie G. Photography




The Decorologist



star pendant

 Photo by Melanie G. Photography



painted spindles

The Decorologist 



 Photo by Melanie G. Photography



 The Decorologist


How would you like to feel like you’re on vacation at the beach all year long in your own home?  Stay tuned for more photos of the rest of this magical family home!

* Since posting this, I have also posted befores and afters of the beach-inspired living room here.


  1. Love it! You hit it outta the park :)

  2. This is really beautiful, I especially love the spindles and the pretty bench!

  3. Andrea Brooks says:

    Beautiful transformation Kristie!! Being brave paid off big for you and your client!!

  4. Michelle L. says:

    Love it! Can’t wait to see more!

  5. Wow…absolutely gorgeous! Love the colors…

  6. Stunning! Just my style. I pinned this, of course. ;-)

  7. Delyn Metcalfe says:

    I really like how the stairs look after you removed the carpet. I have been wantng to do that in my home, but wonder if there is any problems with people slipping on the wood steps as they descend?

  8. This should be in Better Homes & Gardens ASAP Kristie, it’s amazing! Maria

  9. so fun! I love the painted spindles and think they add such a fun vibe. Great job Kristie as always!

  10. gorgeous! and so much fun!!

  11. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    Wow Kristie, not only did you create a beachy, casual entrance, but you made the house feel about 30 years younger! I love that you used what they had so well! You did hit it outta the park!

  12. Once again, you hit a home run! I’m amazed at your talent and how you are able to deal with so many different type issues.

  13. Absolutely amazing – the color scheme is delightful – it makes me happy just looking at it! The owners must love opening up the front door, I bet the entry produces lots of smiles. It’s just wonderful!!! Loving all of the blues – will you be doing a post with the paint colors?

  14. Oh my gosh — how lovely! I can’t wait to see more!!

  15. Another great job from the Decorologist! The pictures are amazing but I am sure they look even better in real life. I am glad your client trusted you to make her home beautiful! Great stuff Kristie!

  16. Have to chime in with my congrats as well – beautifully executed. The blue ceiling tying in with the spindles is superb.

  17. Wow, this is great. You are so versatile!

  18. LaJuana Gill says:


    I just love how you are taking their home and making it such a reflection of their personality! Well done!!!

  19. The spindle idea is genius. So easy to do and so easy to change! Love how this whole transformation is light and airy like a costal home and yet not themed. Love, love it.

  20. Looks fabulous ! Would you please share the paint colors used? Thanks Diedra

  21. Looks fabulous!
    Would you please share the paint colors? Thanks, Diedra

  22. Just gorgeous! I love the watery blue color palette, and did something similar in the living space in my first home. Feeling like you’re at the beach all year round is not a bad thing!!

  23. Hi,
    I just love your room makeover and I jumped over to your page from House of Turquoise. I was hoping you could give me some paint names. My 9 y.o. wants a bedroom makeover and she wants turquoise on her walls but there are so many choices, I was hoping you could give me a starting point..
    Thank you for this blog and for sharing your wisdom with us.

  24. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for hotel chains


  1. […] showed you the make-over of this Brentwood client’s entry last week, and it made it into the Style section of The Tennessean over the weekend!  This is where this […]

  2. […] previously shared the entry and living room of this recent project in a traditional suburban neighborhood.  Now I’m […]

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